The latest moon probe from NASA has recently beamed back what it sees on the moon’s surface for the first time ever. Known as the Lunar Atmosphere and Dust Environment Explorer spacecraft (also called LADEE if you prefer a far shorter and more convenient calling card), the new moon photos that were beamed and released by NASA a day before Valentine’s do depict stars as well as the familiar lunar landscape that is full of pockmarks.
The primary objective of a star tracker would be to capture images of the surrounding star field for the spacecraft to perform an internal calculation of its orientation in space. This task is completed a fair number of times each minute, and the accuracy of individual instruments measurements on LADEE depends on the star tracker making a precise and calculated orientation of the spacecraft.
The LADEE star tracker will not use any ordinary camera, but rather, has a wide-angle field of view so that it can capture the night sky within a single frame. So far, there has been no images of extra terrestrial life captured by LADEE, and neither did we see Soundwave from Michael Bay’s Transformers movie franchise make a cameo appearance. We hope that you like the refreshing pictures of the lunar landscape in the photo gallery below. [Press Release]